Shocking Study: 85.9% of Healthcare Workers Face Violence in Primary Care Centers

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Shocking Study: 85.9% of Healthcare Workers Face Violence in Primary Care Centers

healthcare workers
Photo by Luis Melendez

KUWAIT CITY, June 10: A recent study highlights the troubling levels of violence faced by healthcare workers, particularly those working in primary healthcare centers, revealing that these professionals encounter significantly higher rates of abuse compared to other sectors. This comprehensive research uncovers disturbing statistics regarding the prevalence of both verbal and physical violence against dispensary staff, including doctors and nurses.

The study presents several key findings on the extent of violence experienced by healthcare workers. Notably, 85.9% of dispensary staff, comprising 383 individuals, reported experiencing some form of violence. Physical violence was the most common, affecting 77.3% of these workers. Psychological violence was reported by 48.8% of the staff, while 20.3% faced verbal assault. Bullying was another significant issue, with 15% of the staff having been victims. Additionally, 1.9% of healthcare workers reported experiencing sexual harassment, and 6.4% were targets of racism.

The situation is particularly dire for expatriate doctors and nurses. Among the 294 expatriate healthcare workers surveyed, 76.7% reported having experienced violence. This high incidence highlights the vulnerability of expatriate staff in the healthcare sector, who often face unique challenges and stressors in their work environment.

Gender and occupational differences further complicate the landscape of violence in primary healthcare centers. Women are disproportionately affected by all forms of violence compared to their male counterparts. Additionally, nurses face higher rates of violent incidents than doctors. This trend is not isolated to Kuwait but is also observed in other countries such as Serbia, Greece, and Saudi Arabia, indicating a widespread issue within the global healthcare sector.

Dr. Hoda Al-Ghareeb, a key contributor to the study, emphasized the severe impact that such violence has on healthcare personnel. She pointed out that the high rates of violence not only affect the well-being of the workers but also have broader implications for the healthcare system as a whole. The study stresses the critical need for comprehensive measures to address and reduce violence against healthcare workers, particularly those in primary healthcare settings.

The findings underline the urgent necessity for policies and interventions aimed at protecting healthcare workers from abuse and ensuring a safer working environment. The study calls for immediate action to safeguard the well-being of those who provide essential health services, emphasizing that the health and safety of healthcare workers are paramount to maintaining an effective healthcare system.

Dr. Al-Ghareeb’s study also highlights the broader impacts of violence in healthcare settings. The prevalence of violence in primary healthcare centers has detrimental effects on work efficiency, employee health, societal behaviors, healthcare costs, and job satisfaction. These negative outcomes can lead to a decrease in the quality of care provided to patients and can exacerbate existing challenges within the healthcare system.

To address this issue, the study advocates for the implementation of comprehensive strategies that include the development of clear policies, staff training, and the establishment of support systems for healthcare workers. It also calls for increased awareness and education about the issue of violence in healthcare settings, both among healthcare professionals and the general public.

In conclusion, the study conducted by Dr. Hoda Al-Ghareeb, a family medicine consultant at the Ministry of Health, reveals a critical and widespread problem of violence against healthcare workers, particularly in primary healthcare centers. The findings highlight the urgent need for measures to protect these workers and ensure a safe and healthy working environment. Addressing this issue is essential not only for the well-being of healthcare providers but also for the overall effectiveness and sustainability of the healthcare system. By implementing comprehensive policies and raising awareness, it is possible to create a safer and more supportive environment for those dedicated to delivering essential health services.

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